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Which are the best universities in Australia?

The higher education institutions usually regarded as the best Australian universities have gained their reputation over many years. The Australian higher education sector has developed rapidly over recent years. You can see by looking at the history of the Australian universities that most of the universities have been accredited only relatively recently, although some amongst them had been operating as technical colleges or other forms of learning institution before accreditation.

In this context it is possible to see how what are regarded as the best universities in Australia are often those that have been established the longest. For example, always ranking high are the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney, Australia's oldest universities. These two join with six other top Australian universities to form the 'Group of Eight' which you can read more about on the groupings of Australian universities page. Reputations develop over many years and with most of the prominent people in the legal profession, for example, once coming from these older established or 'sandstone' universities, it is little wonder that they have developed a reputation that is difficult to challenge.

The problem with any list of the best universities in Australia is that it does not include all the variables that go to make up the most ideal place to study. All universities have strengths and weaknesses and although a list of top universities might have greater strengths than weaknesses relative to other institutions, any student who undertakes a course of study at one of these top universities might encounter the 'weakness' when they might have experienced the 'strength' of another university.

Nevertheless the rankings and ratings of Australian universities might still have a benefit if it demonstrates how at particular universities a student is more likely to encounter a strength than a weakness relative to another university. However, this might not hold for particular disciplines, such as architecture or multimedia, or for a particular situation involving an inspiring lecturer or supportive classmates, where there could be a much greater prospect of encountering a strength outside what are regarded as the top universities in Australia.
For a brief overview of some of the ratings measurements have a look at the Australian university ratings and see the range of issues that need to be covered.

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